How to Use a Pellet Gun

Here is a quick guide on how to use a pellet gun for those who are new to the airgunning world.

Determine What Airgun You Have

Figuring out what you own will help you to know the right way to charge the gun and load it. Is is a BB gun? Is it a pellet gun? If you cannot find out from the box or from a Google search, look for:

  • An under lever near the trigger. These are usually BB guns.
  • A pump handle on the front. If the front grip moves on a hinge, then it is a multi pump airgun; these can usually shoot both BB’s and pellets.
  • If the barrel of your gun moves on a hinge. If so, then it is a break barrel springer. This is a pellet gun.
  • Some kind of high pressure air tank (usually under the barrel or in the stock). This is a PCP, a pellet gun.
  • A place for CO2 canisters. These can power both BB guns and pellet guns, so also look for things like round magazines or straight magazines. If it is single shot or the pellets would not touch each other in a magazine then it is a pellet gun.
  • The caliber. Usually, there is writing on the gun that tells you what caliber it is.

Purchase the Correct Projectile

Once you have figured out what type of airgun that you have, then go and look for the right ammunition. For beginners, we recommend standard round nose diabolo pellets in a pellet gun. Here they are in .177 caliberOpens in a new tab., and in .22 caliberOpens in a new tab..

If you get the wrong caliber, the pellets won’t fit; either just not going in if it is too big or just sliding through the barrel if they are too small. Any BBOpens in a new tab. would do for a BB gun.

Charge Your Airgun

If your airgun has a lever action on it, then take your lever and swing it out as wide as it will go. This loads the spring inside while also loading the shot. Be sure that there is a BB in the loading queue. You can tell by looking through a slit in the front of the gun.

For multi pump airguns, pump the handle anywhere between three times and ten times. There is usually a bolt action on these as well. To load a BB, place BB’s in the reservoir then the queue. pull the bolt back and then forth. To load a pellet do the same but with the queue empty of BB’s and instead place a pellet into the breech yourself.

On a break barrel springer, pull the end of the barrel down until you hear a click and it won’t move any further. Keeping one hand on the end of the barrel, load your pellet of choice into the barrel, then close it.

PCP’s need you hook a high pressure air cylinder or air compressor to the tank through a quick disconnect adapter. Fill to your gun’s maximum air pressure, usually 3000 psi or 200 bar (your airgun should have writing to tell you your maximum air pressure).

These can be bolt action, semi automatic, and sometimes automatic. Either load your pellets into the breech or the magazine and you will be good.

Place a drop of silicone oil on the tip of your CO2 canister, then insert it into your gun. There will be bolt you twist to squeeze the canister into place, prepping the shot.

These can also be automatic or semi automatic, so fill your magazine with BB’s and then place that into your gun.

Turn Off the Safety

Your safety can be anything from a switch to a button to a slide, but it will always be near the trigger and when it displays red, then it is off. Springers sometimes turn the safety back on as you load your shot.

Grip and Mount Your Airgun

If you have a pistol, hold the pistol in one hand, and then use your other hand to steady the gun.

With a rifle, hold your front grip to aim down the sights. With a scope, hold your eye at a distance from the scope that allows the image to fill the whole thing and no closer. With iron sights, line the front sight into the notch on the back one over your target.


With your sights over the target, slowly pull the trigger until the gun shoots.

Safety Tips for Your First Time Shooting

Ricochets can be cool, but are also dangerous, so avoid shooting at hard surfaces like rock and metal, as this will cause a ricochet, and wear safety glasses in case that does happen.

Be advised that your effective range with a BB gun is going to be no further than than 50 yards. A pellet will travel further though, with 100 yards being considered an extreme distance for shooting. A pellet is no longer accurate at that distance, so aiming is difficult.

Also, keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to shoot, ad never point the thing at anything you do not want shot.

Tanner Rydalch

Hey there, I'm Tanner. I grew up in Idaho, where there is plenty of space for shooting. I think Airguns can be a lot of fun and are a great introduction to firearms.

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